Prop bet #1: Shai against the machine
It pains me to play an Under on Gilgeous-Alexander’s points prop because I think he should be the NBA MVP odds favorite, and I’ve been rooting for him to have some big games of late so he will overtake Nikola Jokic. But in sports betting, you have to separate fandom from the betting odds, and at 31.5 against the Magic on Tuesday, we have an edge on the Under.
When the Thunder played the Magic on January 13, Gilgeous-Alexander dropped 37 points on them, which makes the Under 31.5 points look very unappealing. However, this was against a much different Magic roster.
On January 13, the Magic were without three starters, and Caleb Houstan and Chuma Okeke were in the starting lineup. Swap out Houstan and Okeke on the perimeter, and add in Markelle Fultz and Franz Wagner, and it will be much more difficult for Gilgeous-Alexander to go matchup-hunting and lose Jalen Suggs on the perimeter.
Not only will the Magic be able to use Suggs as the primary defender on Gilgeous-Alexander, who is one of the best defenders in the NBA at the point of attack, but Jamahl Mosley might have a trick up his sleeve with Jonathan Isaac.
Isaac doesn’t typically guard opposing point guards such as Gilgeous-Alexander, but Isaac does a fantastic job of fighting around screens and maintaining legal guarding position while defending, which could help keep Gilgeous-Alexander off the free-throw line, where he gets a ton of his points.
SGA is projected to score 29.4 points on Tuesday against the Magic, which allows us to price the Under 31.5 points at -158, but Shai Gilgeous-Alexander odds are available at bet365 at -120.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander prop: Under 31.5 points (-120 at bet365)
Prop bet #2: Derrick dimes
Guess who leads the Boston Celtics in potential assists per game over the last six games? I’ll give you a hint, it’s neither Jrue Holiday, Jayson Tatum, nor Jaylen Brown. It’s Derrick White, averaging 9.7 potential assists per game.
White just went Under his assists total against the Miami Heat on Sunday, and the sportsbooks decided to drop his total from 4.5 to 3.5 as a result, albeit with heavy juice on the Over at 3.5 (-150). But 3.5? This total should have stayed at 4.5, and that’s why we’re going to attack Derrick White odds on Tuesday because we’re getting a very favorable plus-money price.
The Celtics will be facing the Brooklyn Nets on Tuesday, and aside from the fact that White is leading the Celtics in potential assists of late, I think there are some angles directly related to the Nets that have me betting on White for 5+ assists.
In his previous game against the Nets earlier in the season, White and Holiday were able to burn the Nets in transition by outletting the ball to Brown and others for easy assists. I expect we will see this again on Tuesday, especially with the Nets boasting a much stronger half-court defense with Ben Simmons and Nic Claxton back in the lineup, two players who missed their previous matchups.
With Simmons and Claxton in the lineup, there is one glaring hole on defense that the Celtics will be looking to exploit: Cam Thomas. I fully expect to see White being the screener in the pick-and-roll for Tatum, to try and generate a switch of Thomas onto Tatum.
The Nets like to counter this by blitzing Tatum, which is perfect and what we want because it means we should see Tatum hitting White with the pass and White attacking a rotating defense at the nail with potential assists all around him.
White is projected to have 4.7 assists on Tuesday against the Nets, and while it’s not the give we need for a green checkmark, it’s the +145 price point that is the key to this wager. Based on our projection, we can price the 5+ assists at +100, creating a nice probability gap on the +145 price point that bet365 is offering.
Derrick White prop: 5+ assists (+145 at bet365)
Prop bet #3: Take a Book around
You want to talk about numbers that pop off the page? Devin Booker is averaging 16.7 potential assists per game this season in three games against the Sacramento Kings. The stat that grabs your attention even more than that is that he still had 13 potential assists against the Kings on January 16, a game in which Kevin Durant and Bradley Beal both played.
The bottom line is, the Kings don’t have a defender who can meet Booker at the point of attack and slow him down from getting in the lane and creating for others. One high ball screen on Keegan Murray, and Booker is now free to create for his teammates. It’s not like the Kings added someone to the roster at the trade deadline or were missing someone due to injury who could be disruptive to these stats; their roster is the exact same.
The last time the Suns played the Kings on January 16, they also ran with a smaller lineup which featured Kevin Durant at the five and Eric Gordon running with the starters. The Suns can get away with this with Domantas Sabonis on the other side, and it allows them to run and create easy buckets against the Kings’ defense.
I fully expect to see this lineup once again against the Kings, and if you put Booker in transition running with a lineup that features Durant, Beal, Gordon, and Grayson Allen, those potential assists can begin to convert at a really high rate for Booker.
Booker is projected to have 6.6 assists against the Kings on Tuesday, which is well above our total of 5.5, but it has to be in order to establish a probability gap on the price point of -140. Based on our projection, we can price Devin Booker odds at -171 to go Over the total of 5.5 assists.
Devin Booker prop: Over 5.5 assists (-140 at FanDuel)